As we start this next school year, we look at what God’s done so far and anticipate what He’s going to do ahead of us. We are so incredibly grateful for ways we have seen God move this past school year and summer.
As our Juvenile Justice Ministry, JJM, is reaching the youth who are in the Denver area Youth Service Centers, we have incredible news to share. Ean Cowan, the Director of JJM, who oversees this ministry, states:
On Sunday, July 23rd, 2023, a huge portable baptismal was rolled onto the facility to baptize twenty-two young women and men who had given their lives to the Lord. To God be the glory for such a beautiful victory! Friends, the angels in heaven rejoice, and so are we as this is indeed good news to celebrate.
Just as he said, to God be the glory! What goes along with this extraordinary event are the ways that God has been working through each of our regular trips to ministry sites. Tay Ball, a JJM Chaplain, witnesses that:
I was speaking about life to four young men, and about one minute into my speech I turned around, and there were seven other guys totally engaged and asking questions. We decided to go to another cell where other young men resided, and in the name of Jesus, I received the same awesome and loving response on that side of the facility as well. By the time I left the facility I gave out 25 business cards for the young man to reach out to me if they wanted to have an individual who’s ready to listen and act on their behalf.
For the Campus Life Ministry, who reaches middle and high school students, Donny McCleery, the Director of Campus Life Ministries, quickly explains the summer as “so many fun memories: our weeklong Disney Trip, eating pizza in a porta potty (because a hailstorm popped up during a whiffle ball tournament), late night flashlight tag, weekly Bible studies at Ziggi’s, end of summer pool party with tons of students plus lots of rain, etc.” But then he expounds:
Those memories will last a lifetime. On the outside, it looks like a lot of just fun and games, but on the inside, there are so many stories—stories for each one of our students. These are authentic and real. They range from students working through family issues, cutting, suicidal ideation and attempts, struggles with identity and trying to fit in, in a world that to them does not want them, the loss of a friend or family member…… and so many more.
Or as Eun Soo Kim, another Campus Life Site Director at Legend High School, describes the focus of Campus Life: “No frills, no over spiritualizing, no Christianese, no pressure or lights or big hype band—it’s just about relationship. Relationships with students in the hopes they see our relationship with Jesus.” And that is the aim of YFC, to build relationships that could draw and lead youth into an even closer relationship with Christ.
Then our City and Parent Life have something they are extraordinarily excited about: the ACO House! As Alex Straughter, our West Denver Community Coordinator, describes:
School is back in session, and the ACO House (our new youth center) is under full construction. I am so grateful to be a vessel and testimony of God’s redeeming love to the youth and community that we have the honor of walking alongside with. I am seeing youth hungrier for God than ever before; voicing questions that we all have and seeking the truth for themselves. I know that the placement and timing of our safe space for the community is exactly what God wants, and I am starting to see how we have been placed to be a healing balm for the area we will be in. I urge you to continue to pray for healing in this city. We see God moving in amazing and tangible ways, and yes, He is faithful! Yet, I need to honor and hold the space for the harsh reality that some of our young people are facing in their communities. Pray for a covering of protection over schools, centers, and teachers; over the safety of the coming and going of students; and that students would find people to empower them and let their voices be heard.
We have hope yet to come. As Jedidah Frederick, our Chief Operating Officer, says, “There is power in hope! In fact, we bank our faith on the ‘assurance of things hoped for’! We bring hope to young people who seek and need it desperately.”
Therefore, we are so encouraged by all we have seen God do over this past year that we cannot wait to see what He has in store for us. Yet, we are in desperate need of your prayers: please pray that God would even expound on what He has done this past year, and we would keep our eyes focused solely on Him. For He is our Comforter and Provider, and we cannot do anything without Him. We also pray that you have a year ahead of you filled with the essence of the Lord and His hand in your life. We cannot thank you enough for your prayers already!
(Cited) By: Christie Smith | Communication and Media Specialist